THE THREE CITIESThree Cities of Malta -Birgu (Vittoriosa), Senglea, and Cospicua – beckon with their historical allure.We took a canal boat , a mere 2 Euro each, directly across the Grand Harbour from Valletta. We also tried the ferry another day to Birgu.
Birgu and Senglea's docklands held my fascination with many restaurants offer great views across the cities. Our journey led us to Fort Angelo and the Inquisitor's Palace. Fort Angelo, now meticulously restored, boasts a Mediterranean-style chapel and garden. The Inquisitor's Palace, a historical jolt, reveals a history of power and ruthlessness. Its low doors, a chilling reminder of a brutal era, held those accused of differing beliefs, even labeled as witches.
The Senglea Point Vedette, adorned with a carved oversized eye and ear, stands as a symbol of vigilance.
The SeaFrom rocky to sandy, the beaches offer diverse landscapes. My highlight was the stunning Blue Hole in Gozo, where I chose snorkeling with my kids over diving. St. Peter’s Pool is a popular spot for cliff jumping, offering a vibrant underwater world, though not as clear as the Blue Hole.
Unfortunately, wind hampered visits to two places. The Blue Lagoon was unreachable due to ferry disruptions. Given more time, Paradise Bay en route to Gozo would have been a definite stop for me.
Visiting Għar ir-Riħ added another little adventure to our family trip. We had to locate the RTO sign, followed by a no-entry sign footpath. Then, we came across an old shelter on the right, leading us to a left turn that allowed us to climb down beneath the rocky terrain. Soon enough, we discovered a cave with a stunning sea view – a truly unique experience.
We stayed at Raddison Blue at St Julia. This quaint 5-Star hotel is located in a quiet, lovely neighborhood in a busy area where offers outdoor pool with access to the rock seaside.
Absolutely, you're in for a treat with Maltese cuisine! A captivating blend of Mediterranean and Italian influences, it guarantees a culinary journey during your Malta exploration. Be sure not to miss the opportunity to taste rabbit meat at Cafe Jubilee in Valletta; relish handmade pastas from Marsaxlokk, and indulge in the freshest seafood offerings that truly capture the essence of authentic island dining. Grilled octopus, succulent lobsters, and flavourful seafood soup are just a few mouthwatering options that await you.
Sun, Sea and History
Embrace the stunning blue skies by day and the enchanting fireworks that grace the night. Immerse yourself in the clear Mediterranean waters, exploring the depths of the Blue Hole surrounded by abundant fish. Relish fresh pasta and seafood, and step back 5000 years through archaeological parks. Malta and Gozo offer a complete experience for our family trip.
Best Places for History
Mdine and Rabat
Mdina offers mysterious golden stone Arabic walled of the city at hilltop. In the medieval time, this place was called "Città Notabile" the Noble City and was the favoured residence of the Maltese aristocracy such as the Knights of St. John. St. Paul's Cathedral, a tale of resilience post-earthquake, emerged anew in 1697 as a Baroque masterpiece, its design reminiscent of Valletta's St. John's Co-Cathedral. An extraordinary museum houses a trove of woodcut and copperplate prints, a feast for the eyes.
St Paul's catacomba at RabatThe site provided numerous breathtaking moments for me. It offers a fantastic alternative to the Saflieni Hypogeum for those interested in underground burial chambers. St. Paul's Catacombs, comprising 20 catacombs on the site, is the largest catacomb discovered on the island. Dating back to the 3rd century AD, these catacombs were utilized for burial purposes for around 500 years. The catacombs encompass both Christian and Jewish styles, featuring atmospheric rock-cut tombs with narrow staircases and passages.
Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Archaeological Park
There are two sites to be visited in one go and both sites are protected by shelters.
Ħaġar Qim is an ancient site dating back over 5000 years to the Late Neolithic period. It features temple buildings constructed with trilithons – two upright stone blocks with a lintel and threshold – as well as doorways cut into single megaliths, referred to as 'porthole' doorways. The site is reminiscent of Stonehenge, but on a much larger scale.
Mnajdra comprises three buildings: Centra, East, and South. The most remarkable aspect is the alignment of the South building's doorway with the sunrise during the Spring and Autumn equinoxes.
Valletta's City Gate opened a world of wonder for us, where every corner held stories of the past and the promise of new adventures in the rich heritage of this UNESCO-listed gem.
Our explorations led us to a delightful lunch at Café Jubilee, where local dishes such as rabbit meat danced on our palates. We visited visited St. Paul's Cathedral and strolled through the tranquil beauty of Upper Barrakka Gardens. The Teatru Manoel tour was the best part to end our city trip and imaging ourself in the theater box.
Mysterium Fidei Musesm
Step into The Mysterium Fidei Museum, an immersive experience beneath Valletta's St. Catherine’s Monastery. Here, monastic nuns once chose to live locked away, a life that extended beyond death. Explore their everyday routines and the intriguing secrets concealed within these walls. Journey through time, from the Knights of St. John era to the present day. With an audio tour, stand in rooms of work, prayer, restraint, and eternal sleep. Join us to unveil this remarkable mystery of faith!
The Saluting Battery, dating back almost 500 years, offers a fantastic viewpoint to admire The Three Cities and The Grand Harbour. It is likely one of the world's oldest operational saluting batteries. We witnessed the daily time-gun firing at 12 pm and then joined a 30-minute tour. The admission cost is reasonable, at 3 Euro per adult and 1 Euro per child, considering the wealth of information about various gun types and cannon sizes. Interestingly, to create a dramatic effect, the cannon is partially filled with flour!
Although you can watch the cannon fire for free at Upper Barrakka Gardens, I highly recommend taking the tour for a more enriching experience.St John’s Co-Cathedral:St. John's Co-Cathedral is a true marvel of beauty with the presence of eight distinct chapels representing regions like Germany, Italy, France, Provence, Aragon, and Oratory. Each chapel's exquisite design and decor provide a glimpse into the unique heritage of its origin.
A young entrepreneur is a child or young adult who finds opportunities to start and operate a business. Through basic understanding of financial literacy, learning problem solving skills, you can turn your idea into business.
Here is an interview with Emma Lo who started her own Simply Key business at the age of 11.
So Emma how did you start your business idea?
I watch loads of youtube. I love to design and also to get my hands dirty. One day, I saw a Youtube video about making customised key for my gaming keyboard and I asked my dad to buy some raw materials to make the keys.
After I finished making my first set of custom keys, I only wanted to use them for my own keyboard. But then I still had some spare raw material left and I was not sure what to do with it. I then asked my dad what do, and he suggested maybe I could try to make some extra keys and to sell them in eBay.
How to you start your own business ?
In the beginning, I tried to use eBay to sell my products, however later on, I found out that eBay is not specialised for selling handcraft products. I then had to find an alternate platform to sell my products. At last, I found that I could open an online store on Etsy.
How to you promote your product?
I took some photos with my iPhone and set different display theme. I then used Canvas software to create my own label. My mum also helped me to create a business account on instagram and a business page on facebook. I tried to pay a bit of advertisement fee on Etsy, and then the business just took off. I got orders as far as from the US. My parents were very impressed that I could do my own packagng and print the label for custom declaration with postage paid all in one go!
How to you work out your profit and capture the money?
I had to calculate the raw material cost, postage cost and then add a bit of my labour time. I also research similar products on the market to make sure the pricing is reasonable.
For the income, it goes into my bank account which my parents open for me when I was 9 years old.
What is your advise for the young people who want to become an entrepreneur?
Look into the problems to solve, be resilient and perseverance with your dream, be motivated and be brave!
To find out more about my products, check https://www.instagram.com/simply_keycaps/
Interviewer: Sandy Lien
Interviewee: Emma Lo
Script by: Ethan Lo
Review by :Jonathan Lo
On the 8th September evening, my son informed me that Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle, Scotland. I felt absolutely shocked and could not believe the news as the Queen had only just met new prime minster Liz Truss two days ago.
My son had then paid his respect to the Queen outside Buckingham Palace the very next day during his school lunch time break. It was just twenty minutes before King Charles III arrived at the gate in the palace on first day of his reign.
Through the week I had hopped to queue for attending The Queen's laying-in-state at Palace of Westminster after work on Friday evening. However the queue has been paused from time to time on Friday and the waiting time was then stretch to over 24 hours.
Our family had then made the decision to pay our respect by leaving our garden flowers at dedicated tribute sites at Hyde Park. We then visited Green Park to read cards and messages left at the floral tribute sites and walked to Westminister Abe area. Eventually, we walked through the Mall (outside Buckingham Palace), Horse Guards Parade, No. 10 Downing Street, stopped at St Margaret's Church where we can see clearly the window lights from Palace of Westminster just across the street. I had the chance to say my pray, it was an incredible experience to see many people in London at night, yet it was so quiet.
On Monday after watching State Funeral, I still feel I need a more personal engagement to express my sorrow and asked my husband to drive us to Windsor.
We were very fortunate to park at Deer Park car park which is just next to the Long Walk at around 14:40pm.
We reached the Long Walk and just before 3pm, and waited for the road gate reopen and then we were offered to pass the security check. We managed to line along Long Walk for the Queen's coffin. As the cortege approached, my heart was pumping fast. The song played by the bagpiper were so moving, at the moment, I felt I share something in common with the Queen, our love of Scotland! It was such an intimacy experience and my tears kept running down while Queen's coffin passed through my front. I can felt some other mourners also started to bust into tears.
Thanks to all the volunteers, workers and public servants who had made it possible for me to have my person farewell to the Queen.
I will always remember the Queen's dedication and wisdom as a female role model.
i am very pleased to see my daughter has decided to have her own bussiness Instagram acoount. Thanks to her classmate for the suggestion.
On the third day, I had 2.5 hours to visit the city before heading to the airport.
While my colleagues were visiting local markets, I decided to go to Vatican City.
Initially, I arrived before 9am to queue up for Vatican museum. However, after doing a bit more research on the internet, I realised its not worth of spending only 2 hours there. Instead I went to the open ground and St Peter’s Basilica for a short work.
After seeing magnificent marble sculpture, the Pietà, made by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
My memory of the Basilica fleshed back when. I decided to buy a post card and sent it back to home as a souvenir for myself.
Newly Wed Couples
Coincidentally, there were civil wedding going on, and I asked many newly wed couples for photos. They were all very generous to give me nice poses for photo shooting.
Afterward, I walked passed Castel Sant'Angelo, and stopper over an Art museum, Chiostro del Bramante, for quick lunch and coffee. Then I went to Trevi Fountain on my way back to the hotel.
No doubt I would be happy to revisit this ancient city again!
After the training, my colleague and I went out to wondering around a bit in separate ways before meeting up for dinner.
As the time was limited and already after sunset, I rushed to the Pantheon which is the best-preserved ancient Roman building in Rome back in 125 A.D.
The building block outside somehow looked a bit unsymmetrical, however once I step inside, I was impressed with the openness of the hall area and the magnificent dome. Apparently, it was the biggest unreinforced concrete dome in the entire world.
My heart was very touched to see the famous Renaissance painter, Raphael buried inside.
Spimar | Gelateria Della Palma
I then rushed to a local shop called Spimar Cappelli Sciarpe e Accessori Moda. I bought a very classy look blue hat. I spotted the item the night before but couldn’t make up my mind till the second night after wondered around a few shops. I then looked for a pair of leather gloves and small coin bags for souvenir and tried the gelateria at Gelateria Della Palma
La Botte Antica
After shopping, my colleague and I met up and we walked to Hotel Hassler Roma. We were thinking to go for a drink there but can feel the hotel was very upper end and did not welcome us for drinks only. Then we wondered to a church called Trinità dei Monti. As it was nearly Christmas time, there were a children’s choir singing beautiful Christmas chorus. The church located at a the hill with nice view.
we finished the evening with dining at a local restaurant called La Botte Antica for dinner. It was recommend by the hotel staff. I tried the lobster spaghetti. The restaurant was very cosy.
The first time I visited Rome was back to my research days almost 20 years ago. I went to Venice to present my book chapter in a conference and stayed over in Rome for a few days. I remembered the city was dirty, food for tourist such as pizza was cold and hard, and loads of people tried to sell us worthless souvenir outside colosseum.
However, when I had the opportunity to revise the city with my colleagues for training during lDecember 2019 , my impression of the city had changed a lot!
Trevi Collection Hotel
We jetted off to Rome on 16th Dec and arrived in the afternoon and checked in at a budget hotel called Hotel Trevi.
The staff were overwhelmingly welcoming and kept telling us what to do around the area but all we want was some food to fill in our stomach. So straight away we went to wonder around the Spanish steps.
I was craving for my espresso and cheese cake for afternoon retreat while my colleagues were craving for wine and pizza.
Ristorante Atelier Canova Tadolini
After a short stop to a small cafe, we moved on and visited another small cafe right next to the church. We were surrounded by sculptures and I felt a bit guilty to drink wine in an environment like this. The glass of wine came with load of breads and made me wonder how I am going to feed more food for dinner.
But after wondering around a bit, we had lovely Italian wine and fish for dinner at Ristorante Da Edy
This October, I had the opportunity to joint my colleague from UK and visited my PMO team members in India. I was very excited but also nervous through the whole month before my trip. I was nervous because I remembered that almost every colleague of my from Australia who used to visit India can get sick on the first day, then stay in the hotel most of time and came back at the end of one week.
On the other hand, I was keen to see the country and experience myself what the country is like. Here is a summary of my personal Myth about India. I landed at New Delhi and visited our Gurgan and Kolkata offices.
It was an exciting opportunity for team building. India is so big geographically, so some my of local colleagues even haven’t seen each other for four years and took the opportunity to catch up while I was there.
One the very last day on Saturday, my UK colleague and I went to Taj Mahal to end our trip.
There are some of my personal Myth I would like to share.
Myth #1- Brush your teeth with bottle water and never drink tap water
Before the trip: I never brush my teeth with bottle water in my life before. I was so worry what if I rinse my teeth during shower incidentally? Will I get sick?
My colleague to me just don’t think about it but just make sure I use the bottle water.
So before my trip, I worked out that I shall wash my face before having shower. In this way, it will reduce my chance of rinsing my teeth with tap water. But… what about when I need to wash my hair?
During my trip: Wow, the hotel room has a Toto bidet toilet system! I missed the bidet system so much after relocating from Tokyo to London! Wait! The tap water looks very clean to me! It was even more clear than the water in London. The bathtub was so lovely and it was much better than the one in my flat back in London.
But there is also a bottle of water right next to the toilet basin. I suppose its common for the guest to use the bottle of water for brushing their teeth.
My first intuition when I arrived is that I want my tummy to get use to the local water. Therefore I risk a bit by putting tap water to the boiler and made myself a cup of tea. I was fine afterwards.
Myth #2- Toilets hygiene may be a concern
During my trip: I noticed when I arrived at the air port, although the toliet was not new, there was a cleaner who even wiped toilet floor under the basin.
The hotel toilets were clean excepted that I did complaint about the hotel bathroom in Kolkata was not clean unto my standard when I first check in.
In our office, similarly, the toilet was clean because there is always someone doing the cleaning job. However, the toilet system used yellowish recycle water to flash the toilet.
During my trip on Saturday, we sticked to tourist spot and used the petrol stop toilets. They were still acceptable comparing with other places I had been such as Malaysia. We survived with a four hours one way journey from Gurgaon to Taj Mahal with several toilet breaks in between.
Myth #3- only eat cooked food and never eat ice. Most of food are spicy if its dark colour
Before the trip: I was thinking I need to give up ice cream and mango lassie
During the trip: My local colleague took me to try India dessert.
My eyes were wide open. There are so many selections such as addo, Gulab jamun (deep fired ball), buffi, and Kulfi (ice cream)
I worked it out most of them are made by flour and milk with different taste. I had to try a bite each.
I was not a big fan of Gulab jamun, but I loved pista barfi (with ground pistachios) very much! I also like India ice cream, Kulfi, which I can taste the condense milk. I ignored the advise I got from the nurse in UK, I tasted all kinds of desserts and shared with my local colleagues.
I also loved yogurt very much especially in Gurgaon. I was told that yogurt tasted better in the north where as dessert tasted better in Kolkata. It was very true.
In Kolkata, we tried lamb dish. It looks very dark to me, but actually it was not spicy at all. Its alway important to follow India’s wisdom by having a colourful after meal refresher called Mukhwas and a leave covered snack called Pan. They would help with digesting the food after a heavy meal.
Pan might be a bit overwhelming when you first try, but it tasted fine after second time.
Myth #4- Food and cloth are very cheap in India.
The first morning after we landed in New Delhi, we checked in the hotel for a short break and moved to the office straight away. I tried the food at our canteen. The price of each dish was around 70-120 India Rupee. To me this is kind of similar to the lunch box costed in Taiwan. However, the rest of the week, I also tried the company subsided canteen food; it cost only 40 and 20 India Rupee per dish in our Gurgoun office and Kolkata office respectively.
PS. My tummy did feel a bit funny after the next day when I had canteen food. Especially on Saturday after almost a week. I was ok when I sat in the car but felt painful in my tummy through the morning whenever I am walking.
As for street shopping, if you go for tourist spots even with bargaining, I didn’t feel it was cheap enough comparing with Taiwan. Even my local colleagues
were trying to help me to bargain in New Delhi. But is a fun to expereince the bargaining.
The goods were more reasonable priced when my colleague took me to local shopping mall in Kolkata. There are some fixed priced shops where I can get quality cotton made table cloth and india style clothes without the need to bargain. I was also very attempted to buy Saris but the shop did not accept credit card payment over 35 pounds. Therefore I decide to leave it as I hate to borrow cash from my colleague and I would hardly have the chance to wear it anyway.
Myth #5- traffic jam and noisy street is common
Before the trip: my colleague told me always buffer sufficient time for your travel as traffic jam part of daily life even the travel distance may look short. My son also learned from the internet that its not easy to go across the street just like being in China.
During the trip: when I first arrived, I was so shocked with the driver that they use horn all the time. Even there are 5 lanes one way, the drivers will use it like 7-10 lanes. But the second day I got used to the noise anyway.
We tried to do two U-turns in Gurgaon and it took 15-20 minutes at least each time. This is such a stressful thing to drive in this country. I can never do it.
My goodness, there is no seatbelt at the back seat of Uber even for premier Uber cars. Therefore, its highly recommended to rent hotel car with a driver when we plan our personal trip on Saturday.
As for going across the street, it was a big challenge for me. My colleague recommended me that I shall drop by Victoria Memorial in Kolkata before checking out the hotel on Friday morning. I dropped by the garden area and it was very pleasant as he told me. I then thought I want to walk to St Paul across the road before going back to the hotel. Believe it or not it took me 15-20 mins just trying to get to the other side of the street. There are people jump in and out of the bus plus loads of cars passing by to block your view. By the way, the local tourists not only liked to take selfies, they loved to ask foreigners to take photo with them.
Myth #6- You can afford helpers if you live in India
My local colleague has three helper at home so its true if you are a professional and live in India you can offer this too. His wife has a doctor in economics degree and is also working. Therefore they hired three helpers- one as a chaifur for driving, one as a maid for cooking and cleaning and one as a nanny for looking after the kids. Sounds very similar to the life style in Indonesia to me!
Myth #7: Taj Mahal is the must visited place in India as its one of the world’s
Seven wonder .
To go or not to go that was the question.
As we were staying in Gurgaon, it was easier to take a private car with driver to Taj Mahal than taking the train.
Between my colleague and myself we paid 17000 India Rupee for a private day trip to Agra with a local tour guide. It you go by taxi its only around 3800 one way. But I wanted the flexibility to wake up 6:30am in the morning for breakfast and to stop when ever we felt like. If its not because we had a long day and can’t get back to hotel till after 9pm on Friday, it would be nice to travel to Taj Mahal on Friday night and stay over to see sun rise the next morning.
The tour guide spent a lot of time to explain the decorative element of the Taj. You can see marble screen with an inlaid chrysanthemum, floral sprays carved on the marble, inlaid calligraphy in black marble and different flowers such as the tulips, lily, iris poppy and narcissus as sparer or in arabesques patterns. I love the Pietra Dura carved floral designs inlaid with precious stones over the white marble surface. It reminds me Chinese traditional furniture back to my childhood in Taiwan.
We also stopped by Agra Fort. Its imposing red sandstone ramparts from a present along the river front. The structure was so grand that my camera was not able to take the whole are into the picture.
I am glad to end our trip with one of the seven wonder of the world!
This week I had the opportunity to attend two full day workshop and took a 90 mins stroll around the historic heart of the capital, Old Madrid on Friday early morning before heading to airport flight.
My overall impression of the city was just incredible!
Before visiting Madrid, I was a bit concerned about the safety side of traveling alone. But on the first evening on my way to the to the hotel, I had changed my impressions completely.
Firstly I was in loved with the old Madrid where there are many charming buildings and stone alleys to walk around.
Even my flight was delayed, I managed to do some work and then visited Museo del Prado for an hour. The museum offer free entry two hours before closure each date. I was so impressed with the fabulous painting collection back in 12th century to 19 centuries. It’s a good opportunity to see the worlds greatest assembly of famous Spanish painters art works such as Goya. The museums also has vast collection of Italian paintings such as Raphael, Giordano and Tiepolo. I can tell some locals just drop by to appreciate the art. One man was trying to explain me a religious character of a Saint in painting in Spanish. I can feel his passions about the painting even I cannot understand Spanish at all.
One the top floor I saw an incredible Mermaid gold covered deco piece.
I had visited an old restaurant called Taberna Antonio Sanchez, named after a matador from 1870. His son also became a bullfighter but after a serious goring he retired to run the bar and his victims and pairings adorn the walls. Although I couldn’t understand the me, the waiter was very professional to give me suggestions with Muga red wine, Rabo de toro (Oxtail) for main dish.
The first night after the workshop, we had a team building to play escape game for 90 minutes the following by late dinner from 9:30pm at a nice high ceiling building called Casa Paulino. We had Jamon Serrano which is a salt cured hand dried in mountain air for tapas.
The second night of workshop I got support with my colleague to get into internal tools understanding and finished work late. I visited the market quickly at 9:30pm . It was full of great fresh tapas at very good price like 1.5 euro per piece and wine. However being a tourist with my laptop alone, for safety reason, I decided to walk back hotel first. I then had very dinner just next to my hotel building after 10:15pm. But still it seemed like that the night just got started.
Finally date I waked up at 6 pm to do a quick walk around in the city before starting work meetings for the day and catching up noon flight.
I walked passed a Catholic Church called Cathedral Church of the Amred Forces, then to St Mary Royal of Almudena, Palacio Real, Monument a Cervantes. I then took metro to Solo station and continuing walking to circulation de Bellas Aries, Westin, Palacio de Cibekes Centrocentro, Puerta de Alcala. I was planning to visit Rize hotel, but unfortunately it was under renovation. The facts that most place open after 10 am which made my life easier for no chance to visit inside but just walk through the town to enjoy the architecture of the grande buildings.
Back to the hotel for packing and heading off the airport and glad to have a safe, fullillment workshop and short visit to Madrid.
Overall, I love the city.